Adam and Eve would have been proud.
As the original gardeners, they knew what it was like to work in the buff, but that was in paradise.
Things were a little different Saturday at Avalon, West Virginia’s only clothing optional resort, when community members braved rain and chilly temperatures to spruce up a large flower bed.
They were taking part in World Naked Gardening Day, and no one complained about the overcast skies or dismal weather.
Instead they gathered together to honor a local couple who’d started the garden, and also do their part for the Hampshire County resort that many claim as a second home.
The annual international celebration is celebrated on the first Saturday of May. It was originally organized by an editor for Nude and Natural magazine and a permaculturist as a project of the Body Free Collaborative.
Different communities and enthusiasts celebrate it differently. Some are public, others are private.
Organizers say it isn’t about exposure to other people, but rather “body acceptance and being one with nature on your own.”
Lisa, who helped set up the local observance, was happy so many responded when she put out an online request for help.
“I wouldn’t say that I am a gardener, but weeds bug me.”
“So when I was out there it had stopped raining for a little while and the wind wasn’t blowing, but it was a little cool. Then it started raining again, but it was a nice way to spend some time giving back,” she said.
Barb is a late convert to nudism, but was transformed by the friendly, nonjudgmental folks she met and has been coming to the resort with her husband since 2006.
“I have kind of a light-brown thumb because I don’t kill everything. But I definitely wouldn’t say I have a green one thumb, even though I did really well last summer growing green beans in containers instead of the ground,” she said.
She didn’t want any special praise for braving the bad weather.
“Everyone volunteers here, and that’s what is really nice about our community. I wasn’t surprised when others also decided to come out and help.”
Calendars can be wrong, but that didn’t bother Dave, who joked about the cold dampness.
“Brrrrr. Brrrr. Who said it is spring? But in the spirit of this holiday, we are willing to make this sacrifice,” he said with a chuckle while raking some mulch into place.
Resort employees were also on hand, including Marcie, who lives full time at the facility with her husband and enjoys helping others made a difference.
“It was a little chilly this year, but we absolutely like to celebrate this day. It also helps celebrate something we care about, and when you are a nudist you like to be outside. Any kind of activity outside is good,” she said.
General manager Julie Kidwell compared the volunteers to spring flowers.
“They just pop up, and make the world a better place wherever they are. We are lucky to have so many people like that here who care so much.”
CEO Phyllis admired the gardeners’ work, but was also busy tending to other details for upcoming events.
This weekend, known as “Avalon Bare Essentials,” was an informal kickoff to the new season.
Members will enjoy plenty of special events, holiday celebrations, group activities and opportunities to just relax in a beautiful mountain setting in the Eastern Panhandle.
May 12-14 is Spring Fling which includes a campground cleanup, campfire, music and dance. The Campground Welcome Back Party will be held the following weekend and includes a festival of lights tour.
Memorial Day will be celebrated with drinks being served poolside, a barn dance and campground pot luck dinner.
“One of our really popular events is the Fairie Fest and it really is a special time here,” ehs aid.
The Fairie Fest will be held June 10, followed by the Bikes & BBQ on July 22 and Avalon Music Fest on Aug. 11-13.
Community members line the road for the annual July 4th fireworks, and it’s a nice time to meet folks who live nearby, she said.